On the first Holy Thursday, Our Lord went into the garden to pray, signaling the beginning of His divine Passion. He said, "Father, if it be Thy will, take this cup from Me: nevertheless, not My will, but Thine be done." Then an angel appeared to Him coming down from heaven to give Him strength. Just as the angel from heaven strengthened and nourished Our Lord, the Eternal High Priest, we gather in the presence of the Holy Eucharist to strengthen and spiritually nourish our priests, through the intercession of the Holy Angels.
Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Holy Orders on Holy Thursday at the Last Supper. On that same night He began His Passion on the Mount of Olives, falling into an agony as His Sacred Humanity pondered the sufferings He would take on to redeem the whole world. To assist Him in this spiritual battle, an angel was sent to offer Him a chalice. This chalice symbolizes the strength which Christ received from the Heart of the Father in order to accomplish the sacrifice of Redemption. This night of agony in the garden is intrinsically related to the priesthood. Every priest is an "alter Christus" (another Christ), likewise called to carry on this same sacrificial mission of Redemption in the Church today. By our prayers and sacrifices we too—like the angel—wish to offer our priests a chalice of strength, so that they may persevere in their daily trials and faithfully accomplish the unique mission entrusted to them by the Father.
Priests are a gift from God to the Church and to all humanity. Through them we receive the Eucharist and all the Sacraments, by which our sins are forgiven, grace is infused and we attain to union with God. The salvation or loss of thousands of souls can depend on the fidelity of a single priest. For this reason, priests are in a special way under spiritual attack. From the very beginning our Lord exhorted His disciples to pray to the Father to send laborers into the harvest (Mt 9:39). St. Paul, in turn, implored the prayers of the faithful for himself as a priest and Apostle (cf. 1 Thes 5:25; Rom 15:30, etc.), mindful surely that even as a priest, he carried the treasure of divine grace in a vessel of clay (cf. 2 Cor 4:7). Priests need the prayers and support of many lay persons in order to fulfill faithfully their special mission. The second Vatican Counsel states, "The Christian faithful, for their part, should realize their obligations to their priests… [S]haring their cares, they should help their priests by prayer and work insofar as possible so that their priests might more readily overcome difficulties and be able to fulfill their duties more fruitfully" (Presbyterorum Ordinis, 9).
On December 8, 2007, the Congregation for the Clergy, addressed a letter to every diocesan bishop in the world, calling for Eucharistic Adoration for the sanctification of priests and spiritual maternity, after the example of Mary, Mother of the Eternal and High Priest, Jesus Christ. Recognizing the great spiritual crisis of priests in our times and the crisis of vocations, the Congregation announced that in handling this situation, "with an awareness that action follows being and that the soul of every apostolate is Divine intimacy, it is our intention that the departure point be a spiritual endeavor" (Claudio Cardinal Hummes, Congregation for the Clergy, Letter to Bishops, emphasis added). Priests cannot remain faithful just on the strength of committees and social groups—they need above all an intimate union with Christ, a deep prayer life and the spiritual support of those who pray for them.
In the midst of all his duties and ministry, the priest must find and maintain an intimate union with Christ as the source of his spiritual efficacy in the service of souls. "The mystery and reality of the Church cannot be reduced to the hierarchical structure, the Liturgy, the Sacraments, and juridical ordinances. In fact, the intimate nature of the Church and the origin of its sanctifying efficacy must be found first in a mystical union with Christ" (ibid., p. 5, emphasis added). Mary is the beginning and model of union with Christ. She is our Mother in the order of grace. "She is the model of the maternal love which must inspire all those who cooperate—through the apostolic mission of the Church—in the regeneration of all humanity" (ibid., p. 6). It is the duty of priests to administer to the needs of souls. Nonetheless, with and like Mary, every soul can, in the order of grace, become a spiritual mother especially to priests, helping them to maintain their union with Christ in the midst of all their trials, duties and temptations.
The efficacy of Mary's mediation comes from her holiness, her union with Christ through obedience, faith, hope and charity. And out of the fecundity of this union—she in Jesus and Jesus in her—they confer all the graces their children need to grow up to "the full stature of Christ" (cf. Eph 4:13). So great and efficacious is Mary in this union that she also mediates to priests not only their own personal grace, but that of their ministry as well.
Today, the Church calls us also to unite ourselves with Mary and to offer our prayers and sufferings especially for priests. Like her and with her help, we are called to become spiritual mothers of these souls so precious in the eyes of God. Our Lord said to Venerable Conchita of Mexico (1862–1937), "I want to come again into this world…in My priests. I want to renew the world by revealing Myself through the priests. I want to give My Church a powerful impulse in which I will pour out the Holy Spirit over My priests like a new Pentecost" (Congregation for the Clergy, Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Priests and Spiritual Maternity, 2007, p.24). St. Therese of Lisieux also said to her sister, Celine, "Let us live for souls, let us be apostles, let us save especially the souls of priests. …Let us pray, let us suffer for them, and, on the last day, Jesus will be grateful" (LT 94).
With Mary, let us all—both men and women—learn to live this spiritual maternity for priests. The closer we grow to the Heart of Jesus, the more we will read there His thirst for priests. We are not to rely on our own strength, but listening to the word of God, we want to surrender ourselves to His will in every trial and stand before Him in the name of priests, interceding and pleading for their sanctification and salvation. We want to "pray to the Lord of the harvest, that He send laborers into His field", that young men have the courage to open their hearts for the call of Jesus, "Be not afraid! … I will make of you fishers of men!" And "on the last day, Jesus will be grateful!"
It must sound pious to associate the Holy Eucharist with the Holy Priesthood. But this is not piety. It is necessity. Without the priests there would not be a Eucharist, and without the Eucharist, the priesthood would not be holy. Our present focus, however, is on the necessity of the Eucharist to produce and provide that the sanctity of the priesthood will survive till the end of time. The Holy Eucharist is indispensable for living out the supernatural and therefore humanly impossible demands that Christ places on those who enter the priesthood in His name. My plan is to cover the following views of this fundamental issue:
The sacrifice of selfless love required of a priest is impossible without the superhuman strength from God. The principal source of this superhuman strength is the Holy Eucharist. Catholic priests are a living witness to Christ's power to work moral miracles in the world today. The single most important need for the priesthood is a renewed faith in the Holy Eucharist.
It does not take great intelligence to see that a faithful and spiritually fruitful priesthood requires superhuman strength. Change the word "superhuman" to "supernatural" and we begin to see what we are talking about. Catholic Christianity is unique among the religions of the world, whether ancient as among the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks and Romans before Christ, or among the living religions of the human race.
Catholic Christianity is unique in making demands on the morality of its believers that are beyond human nature, by itself, to live up to. The two hardest demands are the practice of Christian chastity and Christian charity. Combine these two virtues with celibacy and self-sacrifice, and we begin to see why the priesthood requires, indeed demands, superhuman power from God to remain faithful for a lifetime.
This is what Christianity is all about: living a superhuman life by means of superhuman grace provided by Christ to those who believe that He is God who became man to enable us to witness to His name.
Receiving priestly ordination is one thing. Living as a holy priest for a lifetime is something else. That is why Christ instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The moment we say, "Sacrament of the Eucharist," we mean a triple Sacrament:
—The Sacrifice ‑ Sacrament of the Mass.
—The Communion ‑ Sacrament of the Mass.
—The Presence ‑ Sacrament of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.
Jesus Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist to give those who believe in Him the power they need to remain alive in His grace. For the priests, this means the light and the strength they must constantly receive if they are to live out the sublime directives of the Holy Spirit for Christian believers who received the Sacrament of the Priesthood.
They have no choice. The world in which they live is a world in which the self has been defiled and lust has become the new norm of society.
Not to be deceived by this world, whose prince, Christ tells us, is the devil, Catholic priests need the light that only Christ can give. He is available with this grace through the Holy Eucharist.
Not to be seduced by this world, masterminded by Satan, Catholic priests need the courage that only Christ can give. He tells us not to be afraid. Why not? Because as He says, "Have confidence, I have overcome the world."
What is He telling priests? He is assuring them that He is still on earth in the Blessed Sacrament; that He is still offering Himself daily on our altars in the Sacrifice of the Mass; that He is still giving Himself to them in Holy Communion. Why? In order to enable them to do what is humanly beyond their natural intelligence to comprehend; beyond their natural will power to perform.
Priests have no choice, the psychological pressure from the world, the flesh and the devil are too strong to cope with by themselves. The Holy Eucharist must remain if it already is or become, if it is not, the mainstay of their priestly lives. This is no option. It is a law of spiritual survival in every age and with thunderous emphasis for Catholic priests in our day.
No doubt the Eucharistic Faith and devotion of priests are crucially important in the priestly apostolate. "Like priest, like people" is a truism of the Church's history. But "like Eucharist, like priest" is also a sobering fact of the Church's biography.
Priests are as selfless and chaste, as sacrificing and humble, as their lives are centered on the Eucharist. The daily and devout offering of the Mass, the daily Holy Hour and frequent Benediction, the frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament—these are not superficial priestly devotions. They are expressions of a profound love for Jesus Christ, now living and offering Himself for our sanctification on earth on our way to eternity.
If there is one thing that stands out in Christ's visible life in Palestine, it was His power to work miracles. In one chapter after another of the Gospels, Christ performed signs and wonders that testified to His claims to being One with the Father and that, without Him, we can do nothing to reach our eternal destiny.
—Christ changed water into wine at Cana in Galilee.
—Christ restored sight to the blind and speech to the mute.
—Christ cured paralytics so they could use their limbs.
—Christ calmed the storm at sea by a single word.
—Christ even raised Lazarus from the grave. When He told the dead man to "come forth", what had been a decaying corpse came out of the tomb as a living human being.
But Christ's greatest miracles were not His power over the physical laws of nature. They were His power to change unbelieving minds to become believers in His word, and unbelieving hearts to become men of heroic virtue.
The pagans of the first three centuries A.D. were converted to Christ when they saw Christians practicing chastity and charity. It was especially the generous and chaste love of Christ's priests that changed pagans into believing Christians and in the process, changed the history of the human race.
Where did the early Christians receive the incredible strength they needed to follow Christ when even to become a Christian meant to expect martyrdom? Where did they receive the superhuman power to live such superhuman lives? Where? From the Holy Eucharist, to which the priests themselves were so devoted and which they so earnestly promoted among the people.
It is not commonly known, but should become known, that in the early Church, Christians heard Mass and received Holy Communion every day. The Holy Eucharist was brought to them in person as they were awaiting martyrdom by fire or the sword, or by being devoured by wild beasts.
We turn to our own day. What Christ did during His visible stay on earth in first century Palestine, He has continued doing down the ages by the exercise of His almighty power available in His invisible presence in the Holy Eucharist. It is the same, really same, truly same, substantially same, Jesus Christ who worked miracles at the dawn of Christianity, who is now present in the Blessed Sacrament, offering Himself in the Mass, and received by us in the Holy Eucharist.
What do we conclude from this? Obviously, that Catholic priests and bishops be witnesses in our day to Christ's power in their lives, as were the Christians who were mangled by lions in the Roman Colosseum, or like St. John Fisher, who was beheaded by order of a lecherous king who discarded his wife in sixteenth century England.
This brings us to our final reflection. I make bold to say that the single most important need for Catholic priests is a renewed faith in the Holy Eucharist.
There is an outstanding statement in the Gospel about Christ not performing miracles among some people because of their lack of faith.
Notice what we are saying. We are saying that the Almighty Master of heaven and earth, the Creator of the sun, moon, and stars, when He became man was unable to exercise His omnipotence because of some peoples' lack of faith. Of course, this means that He could not, because He would not work miracles where the people refused to submit their minds in humble belief to His divinity.
Would anyone doubt that in our nation in the last decade of the twentieth century we need an avalanche of moral miracles to protect the priesthood and the priestly apostolate from the demonic forces let loose in our country today? Only God can work a miracle and, we need to change the metaphor, an ocean of miracles in America as in Canada as in England and France and Germany and Scandinavia, to mention just a few materially wealthy countries that are in desperate need of divine grace where so many are walking in darkness and the shadow of eternal death.
Jesus Christ is the infinite God who became man. He became man not only to die for us on Calvary, He became man to live with us in the Holy Eucharist. His divine power is accessible in the Holy Eucharist to those, beginning with priests, who have humility to believe.
My God and Father in heaven, that night in the Garden, on the Mount of Olives, Your Son told Peter: "Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, who will promptly send more than twelve legions of angels to my defense?" (Mt 26:53).
Father, we ask You now: send these twelve legions of angels with chalices of strength out into the Gethsemane of the Holy Church to defend and assist our priests, who, strengthened by the power and presence of these angels, may faithfully fulfill their priestly missions. Amen.
My God and Father, in response to the word of Your Son on the Mount of Olives, "Watch and pray with me," we ask You to accept us as special helpers for Your priests, on behalf of whom, we offer You each Thursday as a sacrifice of love.
With a fervent desire of being such a helper of priests, I, ______________, offer You, Father, in complete confidence, each Thursday as a sacrifice of love on behalf of all priests. Take this sacrifice of my poor love and transform it in Your Heart into the wine for the Chalice of Strength. Then, Father, send Your angels out with this chalice to all priests! Amen.
O Almighty, Eternal God, look upon the Face of Your Son and for love of Him, who is the Eternal High Priest, have pity on Your priests. Remember, O most compassionate God, that they are but weak and frail human beings. Stir up in them the grace of their vocation which is in them by the imposition of the bishop's hands. Keep them close to You, lest the enemy prevail against them, so that they may never do anything in the slightest degree unworthy of their sublime vocation.
O Jesus, I pray for Your faithful and fervent priests; for Your unfaithful and tepid priests; for Your priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields; for Your tempted priests; for the lonely and desolate priests; for Your young priests; for Your dying priests; for the souls of Your priests in purgatory. But above all, I commend to You the priests dearest to me, the priest who baptized me, the priests who have absolved me from my sins, the priests at whose Masses I have assisted and who have offered me Your Body and Blood in Holy Communion, the priests who have taught and instructed me or helped and encouraged me, and the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way.
O Jesus, keep them all close to Your Heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen. ~ Cardinal Cushing
My God, I pray for all Your priests and beseech You to sanctify them. Let them love their sacrifice deeply so that they may live it lovingly.
I beg You, grant them obedience, a spirit of detachment, a chastity which is constant and true, a spirit of self-denial, humility, sweetness, zeal and dedication.
I beg You that all those who may approach them may leave them with a greater love for You. My God, I pray that through them Your Kingdom on earth may grow and be strengthened. O Jesus, I promise with all my heart to sacrifice myself with You. Amen. ~ Canon Formingão
O Jesus, Eternal Priest, keep Your priests within the shelter of Your Most Sacred Heart, where none can touch them. Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch Your Sacred Body. Keep unsullied their lips daily tinged with Your Precious Blood. Keep pure and unworldly their hearts, sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood. Let Your Holy Love surround and protect them from the world's contagion. Bless their labors with abundant fruit, and may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation here, and their everlasting crown in the hereafter. Amen. ~ St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus
O Jesus, Good Shepherd, raise up in all parish commu-nities, priests and deacons, religious, consecrated lay people and missionaries according to the needs of the whole world, which You love and want to save.
We entrust to You in a particular way our parish community; create in it the spiritual atmosphere of the first Christians in order that it may be a cenacle of prayer where we lovingly receive the Holy Spirit and His gifts.
Assist our pastors and all consecrated souls. Guide the steps of those who have generously welcomed Your call and prepared themselves for Holy Orders or the profession of the evangelical counsels.
Direct Your loving gaze to the many well-disposed young people and invite them to follow You. Help them to understand that only in You they can achieve their fulfillment.
We entrust these great desires of Your Heart to the powerful intercession of Mary, Mother and model of all vocations, and beg You to sustain our faith in the certainty that the Father will listen to what You Yourself have instructed us to ask for. Amen. ~ Pope John Paul II
O my Jesus, I beg You on behalf of the whole Church, grant it love and the light of Your Spirit and give power to the words of priests so that hardened hearts might be brought to repentance and return to You, O Lord.
Lord, give us holy priests. You Yourself maintain them in holiness. O Divine and Great High Priest, may the power of Your mercy accompany them everywhere and protect them from the devil's traps and snares which are continually being set for the souls of priests. May the power of Your mercy, O Lord, shatter and bring to naught all that might tarnish the sanctity of priests, for You can do all things. I ask You, Jesus, for a special blessing and for light for the priests before whom I will make my confessions throughout my lifetime. Amen. ~ St. Faustina
Mary, Mother of the Church, to you we turn. With your "yes" you have opened the door to the presence of Christ in the world, in history and in souls, receiving in humble silence and total submission the appeal of the Most High.
Grant that many men and women may know and hear, even today, the inviting voice of your Son: "Follow me". Stretch out your motherly hand over all missionaries scattered throughout the world, over religious men and women who assist the elderly, the sick, the deficient, the orphans; over those who are engaged in teaching, over the members of secular institutes, the silent leaven of good works; over those who in the cloister live on faith and love and beg for the salvation of the world. Amen. ~ Pope John Paul II
Lord Jesus, once You called the first disciples in order to make them fishers of men. Continue to let resound today Your sweet invitation:"Come and follow Me."
Grant to young men and women the grace of responding promptly to Your voice. Sustain our bishops, priests and consecrated souls in their apostolic work. Give perseverance to our seminarians and to all those who are fulfilling the ideal of a life of total consecration to Your service.
Enkindle in our communities a missionary zeal. Send, Lord, workers into Your fields and do not let mankind be lost because of a lack of pastors, missionaries, and people dedicated to the cause of the Gospel.
Mary, Mother of the Church, model of vocations, help us say "yes" to the Lord who calls us to collaborate in the divine design of salvation. Amen. ~ Pope John Paul II
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Christ, hear us.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Blood of Christ, Blood of the only-begotten Son of the Eternal Father, save us.
Blood of Christ, Blood of the Incarnate Word of God, save us.
Blood of Christ, Blood of the New and Eternal Testament, save us.
Blood of Christ, falling upon the earth in the Agony, save us.
Blood of Christ, shed profusely in the scourging, save us.
Blood of Christ, flowing from the crowning with thorns, save us.
Blood of Christ, poured out on the Cross, save us.
Blood of Christ, price of our Salvation, save us.
Blood of Christ, without which there is no Redemption, save us.
Blood of Christ, which quenches the thirst of souls and purifies them in the Holy Eucharist, save us.
Blood of Christ, torrent of mercy, save us.
Blood of Christ, conqueror of the demons, save us.
Blood of Christ, courage of martyrs, save us.
Blood of Christ, strength of confessors, save us.
Blood of Christ, principle of virgins, save us.
Blood of Christ, strength of the tempted, save us.
Blood of Christ, relief of workers, save us.
Blood of Christ, consolation of mourners, save us.
Blood of Christ, hope of the penitent, save us.
Blood of Christ, comfort of the dying, save us.
Blood of Christ, peace and sweetness of hearts, save us.
Blood of Christ, pledge of eternal life, save us.
Blood of Christ, liberation of the souls in purgatory, save us.
Blood of Christ, most worthy of all honor and glory, save us.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
V. You have redeemed us, O Lord, in Your Blood.
R. And have made us a kingdom for our God.
Let us pray: Almighty and Eternal God, who destined Your only-begotten Son to be Redeemer of the world and willed to be appeased by His Precious Blood, grant us the grace of venerating the price of our redemption and of discovering in it the virtue it contains—the defense against the evils of the present life—in such a way that we may eternally enjoy its fruits in heaven through the same Christ, our Lord. Amen.
O Jesus, Good Shepherd, who have come to save what was lost, You have established the priesthood of the Holy Church, so that the work of Redemption might be perpetuated.
We ask You urgently: send laborers into Your vineyard! Give Your Holy Church worthy and holy priests. Give Your Holy Church religious brothers and sisters. Grant that all those whom You have chosen from all eternity may follow Your call. Do not allow anyone who is unworthy to ascend the steps of the altar.
Confirm all priests and religious in their difficult vocation and bless their efforts and labors.
Grant that they may be the salt of the earth which preserves from corruption and that they may be the light of the world which enlightens the faithful by their words and example.
Grant them wisdom, patience and fortitude in order that they may promote Your honor, propagate Your Kingdom in the hearts of men, and guide the souls which have been entrusted to them to eternal life. Amen. ~ Popular
O God, who have chosen the apostles to make disciples of all nations and who by Baptism and Confirmation have called us to build up Your Holy Church, we earnestly implore You to choose from among us, Your children, many priests, deacons and religious brothers and sisters who will love You with their whole heart and will gladly spend their entire lives to make You known and loved by all. Amen. ~ Archdiocese of Winnipeg
O Jesus, Eternal Pontiff, Good Shepherd, and Fountain of life, who by the special goodness of Your Most Sweet Heart, have given us priests to fulfill in us the designs of sanctification which Your grace inspires in our hearts, we ask You: come to their aid with the assistance of Your mercy.
O Jesus, may they have in their labors a lively faith; in trials an unwavering trust; in their decisions a burning charity. Grant that Your Word, the irradiation of the Eternal Wisdom, may become through continuous meditation the never failing nourishment of their interior life. Let the example of Your life and passion animate their actions and sustain them in their suffering, so that they may teach, enlighten and comfort us in our sorrows. Lord, grant our priests the grace of detachment from purely worldly concerns. Let them be first and foremost solicitous for Your glory and keep them faithful to their duties. Keep them pure in conscience till their last breath, so that when death comes to the body, they may place into Your hands their mission faithfully accomplished so that they may find in You, Lord Jesus Christ, who on earth were their Master, the prize of the Crown of Justice, in the glory of the saints. Amen. ~ Pope Pius XII
O Jesus, Savior of the world, sanctify Your priests and seminarians. Lord Our God, in order to govern Your people You willed to unite Yourself to the ministry of priests. Grant them the grace of accepting Your holy will so that, in their ministry and in their life, they may seek only Your glory. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
O God, give us holy priests to celebrate the Sacrifice of Salvation, to give sinners the consolation of pardon and thirsting souls the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Amen. Lord, grant us many and holy priests.
Grant us holy priests to console those who suffer, to remind all that we are brothers, to bless our homes, our work, our fields so that Your Kingdom may extend to all souls.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, grant Your Church many and holy priests. Queen of the Apostles, pray for us.
O Jesus, You are the Eternal High Priest. Because You are true God and true man, You are the only Mediator between God and man. Through You, the merciful Father gives man salvation and through You, man is led back to Him.
You have established priests as Your collaborators to perpetuate in the Holy Mass, the Sacrifice of Your death on the Cross and to sanctify souls through their ministry.
O Jesus, choose from all the people of the world worthy and numerous ministers so that all souls may find salvation.
O Jesus, Savior of the world, sanctify Your priests and seminarians.
O God, who have established Your only-begotten Son as the Eternal High Priest, grant, we beseech You, that those who are chosen by Christ as ministers of Your mysteries may be kept always faithful in the fulfillment of their service. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen. ~ Pope Paul VI
Eternal God, Creator of all things, remember the souls of unbelievers who are the work of Your hands and created in Your image and likeness.
Remember that Jesus Christ Your Son has suffered for their salvation a most cruel death. Do not allow that Your divine Son be despised by unbelievers any longer, but that He will be appeased by the prayers of Your chosen ones and of the Church, the Spouse of Your Most Blessed Son, who is our health, life and resurrection, through whom we are saved and set free and to whom be given glory forever. Amen. ~ St. Francis Xavier
Most loving Jesus and our Lord, who have redeemed the world at the price of Your Most Precious Blood, look mercifully on poor mankind, which in a greater part, lies in the darkness of error and in the shadow of death. Shine on it the fullness of the light of truth. Multiply, Lord, the apostles of Your Gospel. Make them fervent and fruitful. Bless with Your grace their zeal and their pains so that through them all unbelievers may come to know You and turn to You, their Creator and Redeemer.
Call back again into Your sheepfold those who have strayed, and back into the womb of Your only and true Church, the rebellious. O Most lovable Savior, hasten the long-awaited advent of Your Kingdom on earth. Attract all men to Your sweetest Heart so that all may participate in the incomparable benefits of Redemption. Amen.
O Mary, Queen of the Missions, give us many and holy missionaries. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be... ~ Pope Pius XII
Look kindly Lord, on our missionaries, priests, religious and laymen who left all to witness to Your word and Your love. Be to each one of them a "powerful protector and their strong support, their shade from the midday sun, their shelter from the desert wind, a guard against stumbling, an assurance against a fall..." (Ecc 34:19).
Sustain them in difficult moments, direct their strength, console their hearts and crown their works with spiritual victories. Let them not seek for earthly success or the goods of this world, but only Your triumph and the good of souls.
Your Cross, which accompanies them through their lives, speaks to them of heroism, renunciation and of peace. Be their comfort, their guide, their light and their strength, so that Your name may be announced everywhere and that, surrounded by a larger and larger number of Your children, they may sing a hymn of thanksgiving, of glory and redemption. Amen. ~ Pope Blessed John XXIII
Lord Jesus, You have chosen Your priests from among us and sent them out to proclaim Your word and act in Your name.
For so great a gift to Your Church, we give You praise and thanksgiving, we ask You to fill them with the fire of Your love, that their ministry may reveal Your presence in the Church. Since they are earthen vessels, we pray that Your power shine out through their weakness. In their afflictions let them never be crushed; in their doubts, never despair; in temptation, never be destroyed; in persecution, never abandoned. Inspire them through prayer to live each day the mystery of Your dying and rising. In times of weakness, send Your Spirit, and help them to praise Your Heavenly Father and pray for the poor sinners.
By the same Holy Spirit put Your word on their lips and Your love in their hearts, to bring good news to the poor and healing to the broken-hearted. And may the gift of Mary, Your Mother, to the disciple whom You loved, be Your gift to every priest. Grant that she who formed You in her human image, may form them in Your Divine Image, by the power of Your Spirit, to the glory of God the Father. Amen. 20. For the Leaders of Your Flock Father, be with the leaders of Your flock in their needs today. Help Your bishops and priests to interpret the Gospel message with clarity and urgency, witnessing in their own lives to the teaching and example of Christ.
Fortify and encourage those among them who are fearful and confused; be truly a Father to those who have fallen away.
Bless those who are involved in new responses to contemporary needs; guide those who direct and foster dialogue with other Christians, with non-Christians and with the secular city.
Assist those who are trying to promote Christian values, that with zeal tempered by prudence, and in the framework of lawful authority, they may help to build up a truly Christian world for man.
Send Your Holy Spirit in a new outpouring, so that under these leaders chosen by You, the entire People of God may progress in a harmonious cooperation towards their final consummation in unity, truth and love by, with and in Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
Keep them I pray Thee, dearest Lord,
Keep them, for they are Thine;
Thy priests whose lives burn out before Thy consecrated shrine.
Keep them for they are in the world though from the world apart;
When earthly pleasures tempt, allure— shelter them in Thy Heart.
Keep them, and comfort them in hours of loneliness and pain,
When all their life of sacrifice for souls seems but in vain.
Keep them, and remember, O Lord, they have no one but Thee.
Yet they have only human hearts, with human frailty.
Keep them as spotless as the Host, that daily they caress.
Their every thought and word and deed,
deign, dearest Lord, to bless. Amen. ~ Anonymous